Morgan Doherty scored a career-high 19 points for the Mercy Academy basketball team Friday, but she might have been more excited about the three charging fouls she drew on defense.
“It’s so satisfying when your whole team runs over and you look at the referee and they’re pointing this way (for a charge) and everyone’s picking you up,” she said.
Whitney Hartlage scored a game-high 27 points and Doherty helped key a strong defensive effort as the Jaguars beat Pleasure Ridge Park 76-53 in a semifinal of the Class Act Federal Credit Union Sixth Region Tournament at Valley.
Mercy scored 31 points off 26 PRP turnovers.
“They’re just relentless,” PRP coach David Meadows said of the Jaguars.
Mercy (19-10) — No. 4 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings — advances to face Butler (23-7) in Tuesday’s 6 p.m. regional final. It will be a rematch of last year’s regional final, which the Bearettes won 59-47.
Kelsey Adwell and Tatiannia Taylor both scored nine points to lead PRP (25-7). Adwell pitched in eight rebounds and eight assists.
The Lady Panthers were within five points (42-37) at halftime but hit just 5 of 24 shots (20.8 percent) in the second half.
Mercy coach Mark Evans said he switched his team’s pressing defenses several times in an attempt to keep Adwell from controlling the game in halfcourt sets.
“Our goal was to force her to help get the ball down the court and then maybe someone else would take a bad shot,” Evans said.
Meanwhile, Hartlage was getting the job done on offense.
The Sixth Region’s Player of the Year scored 11 points — including an old-fashioned 3-point play and a 3-pointer — as the Jaguars put together a 17-4 run to open the second half. Kayla Richardson’s basket capped the run that made it 59-41 with 3:33 left.
“(Evans) told us to come out and keep being the aggressor because in the third quarter we couldn’t let them think they were back in it,” Hartlage said.
Richardson joined Hartlage and Doherty in double figures for the Jaguars with 11 points and added seven rebounds and four assists.
Mercy (19-10) – Doherty 19, Hartlage 27, Bewley 4, Richardson 11, Muthler 1, Martin 9, Stilger 5.
Pleasure Ridge Park (25-7) – Jones 6, Fries 6, Murphy 7, Adwell 9, Taylor 9, Brown 6, Stewart 2, Shead 8.
3-point goals – Doherty 2, Hartlage 3, Richardson, Stilger; Fries, Murphy, Taylor 3.